Whole Foods Opposes New Regs from FTC

Whole Foods Markets submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday, denouncing new and amended regulations proposed by the government agency concerning mergers, and protesting what it called FTC's "rush to judgment" of an unusually short 30-day comment period.

The chain said FTC's proposed regulations would prevent many companies from having the time to defend themselves from its actions in attempting to block mergers.

Whole Food's comments cited the FTC's proposed regulations specifying the date for the evidentiary hearing would be five months from the date of complaint in merger cases, even though the agency said it recognizes the merger review process is highly fact-intensive.

Whole Foods' comments also stated that the regulations would undermine the independence of the administrative law judges. The same commission members who voted to charge the respondent with legal violations would also rule on pre-trial motions to terminate the charges, eviscerating the judges' independent ability to assess the merits of the FTC's case, Whole Foods contended.

Whole Foods said it is forming an "Ad Hoc Committee for FTC Fair Play," to encourage other businesses and organizations to express opposition to the FTC's plans.
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